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While the mission promotes citizen participation, limited involvement can skew opinions

People’s participation in Central government’s Smart City Mission (SCM) worth ₹2,05,018 crore is limited to digital literates, potentially skewing opinions, observed a World Economic Forum (WEC) paper.

WEC recently published acommunity paper titled ‘Transforming Infrastructure: frameworks for bringing the fourth industrial revolution to infrastructure’ which has cited the analysis of SCM policy framework. “SCM promoted city-specific local solutions prepared in consultation with the city residents to meet the nation’s diversity challenge. While SCM promoted citizen participation, it was limited to digital literates, potentially skewing opinions” it observed.

Urban transport focus

Interestingly, the Smart City data analysed by BusinessLine earlier had showed that based on citizens’ opinions Mission cities are putting their highest share of investment (16.60 per cent) into urban transport development. Even as cities face a solid waste management crisis, only 2.4 per cent investment is directed towards this sector. Social sectors and storm water drainage are also less important on the investment agenda with just 2.5 per cent investment proposed for projects in these areas. These investment priorities could be read in the light of digital literates leading the citizen participation and setting the infrastructure project agenda in the Mission.

After urban transport, area-based development is the second most important investment priority for cities. Under the area-based development programme, cities pick up one area and develop it fully so that the model could be replicated elsewhere in the city.

Cyber security concern

The paper further added, “Cyber security remains a challenge due to limited consideration given to it during various phases of smart city development. Separate Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for implementation of smart city projects created a unified boundary for smooth execution. However, relationship and hierarchy between SPV and municipality remains ambiguous”. The paper observed that smart cities demonstrate that infrastructure projects do not follow a one-size-fits-all approach. “When such cities design their smart city strategies, contrast is clearly visible between brownfield cities, which require an attitude shift among their residents, and greenfield cities, which can use innovative technologies as they build from scratch” the paper stated.

The Ministry of Urban Development’s High Powered Expert Committee had estimated that over a 20-year period, ₹39.2 lakh crore at 2009-10 prices will need to be spent on urban infrastructure. Of this, ₹17.3 lakh crore (or 44 per cent) will be on urban roads. “The backlog for this sector ranges from 50 per cent to 80 per cent across the cities of India,” the committee report had stated.


Autor(en)/Author(s): Radheshyam Jadhav

Quelle/Source: The Hindu BusinessLine, 15.11.2019

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